A couple of months ago, the family was together for some sort of celebration (there are a lot of those when you have a big family:)) and the learning bug came buzzing away. My teachers? My 5-year old niece Brooklyn and her little sister 3-year old Marilyn.
Both girls came to the back sliding door.
Marilyn wanted to go outside.
Brooklyn wanted to come inside.
And neither were willing to back down from their plan.
And so, after much frustration both girls ended up frustrated and in tears…both blaming the other.
I should note that the door was only opened wide enough for one person to go through (even though if opened fully, both girls could have done as they pleased).
I wonder how many of us have found ourselves in a situation like this. Perhaps you were not standing at the back sliding door like these girls but metaphorically you were.
-You were in a (possibly) heated argument/discussion with a spouse or loved one or even a stranger and as opposed to hearing the other person out, both parties insisted on being heard first.(Note: The volume of one’s voice often increases when one feels like he/she is not being heard, acknowledged, appreciated, etc.)
-Perhaps you have a certain way of doing things while a co-worker or loved one has a different way of doing the exact same thing and both of you insist on having it done your way.
-Maybe you have a friend and both of you have wronged each other but as opposed to you apologizing, you are waiting for her to apologize (and vice versa).
Understand me and my point of view…first.
Say, “I love you”…first.
Friends, it’s not always easy putting the needs of others before ourselves. It’s a daily lesson and area of growth in my life. Our egos want to be heard, understood, appreciated, acknowledged, and loved among other things. These are not bad in the least. What is hurtful (to ourselves and others) is when we allow our desires to cloud our ability to see the big picture.
Our ego often convinces us that if we are the first to apologize, acknowledge, appreciate others or let the other person speak first and walk through the door first, we somehow lose-that their needs have become more important than ours, blah, blah, blah. The truth is, that’s a whole bunch of crock. If anything, stepping aside to let someone go first, giving them space to speak first, apologizing, acknowledging, and appreciating others first is a sign of compassion, humility and an act of love. It’s pretty SuperHero-Rockstarish if you ask me.
If one of the girls stepped aside, how much time would that have delayed her? 10 seconds?
We want to be heard first. God wants us to Hear others first.
We want to be understood first. God wants us to Understand others first.
We want to be appreciated first. God wants us to Appreciate others first.
We want to be acknowledged first. God wants us to Acknowledge others first.
We want to be loved first. God wants us to BE LOVE first.
Ladies and Gents, this week I encourage all of us to be first-first to show compassion, first to listen to others, first to forgive, first to apologize, first to say, “I love you,” etc. Indeed when we go first in this sense, we ADD love to this world. And friends, when we change the way we love, we change the way we live and when we change the way we live, we change the way we love.
I believe St. Francis of Assisi said it best:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Wishing you the most amazing week ahead! Go out and be first…to love.